GAASTRA CROSS 5.6M 2015 TEST REVIEW
The Cross is the smallest sail on this test, both in terms of quoted sail area, as well as luff / boom dimensions. It’s a compact sail, with a reasonable tuning range on the downhaul (3-4cm between min and max) allowing the leech to fall away significantly in the upper panels, whilst fine-tuning is done on the outhaul. There is more shape in the bottom of the sail than in the past, yet it still sets quite flat above the boom, developing more shape as the power comes on, which in turn enables the protruding main batten above the boom to rotate freely. The Cross has been GA’s (or Gaastra’s) staple crossover sail for some years now, refined for the new season with a smoother luff curve and a number of the brand’s concepts such as Posi-leech, where the cut of this batten above the boom extends beyond the straight line of the leech.
“For 2015 we have designed the Cross with 5 battens in all sizes and with a shorter boom. This was made possible by the new Posi Leech design and the Compact Batten Positioning… The result is an even lighter and easier bump & jump sail, with more power and range. In addition, it is possible to rig all sizes on a 430cm mast and a 160-210 boom.”
On the water, the Cross has the fantastic light, crisp handling characteristics we have come to expect from it over the years, but this year it also generates a good deal of bottom end power to boot. The power is precise and focused rather than soft, and the Dacron luff panel has an elastic limit enabling the sail to breathe and be pumpable as well. It is surprising how efficient it actually is, as the boom length is significantly shorter than others. As the wind increases, apply more tension and the power is locked low in the sail, providing excellent top-end stability. It is a fast comfortable sail for straight-line-blasting work, happily partnering a freerace, even slalom, platform. But that only tells half the story. It is in manoeuvres that the compact crisp nature of the sail really comes into its own. It would make a perfectly reasonable ‘largest sail’ in a wave quiver, providing the bottom end power to make the most of marginal winds, yet not feeling out of place on a wave face, where it can be de-powered easily to go neutral in the hands.A real chameleon of a sail, with great appeal to a wide spectrum of sailors and uses.
A fast and very compact feeling sail, with a crisp power delivery and precise handling. Well recommended.
Other sails in this test: